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Kate Harrison was born and grew up in the west midlands city of Stoke on Trent, England. The experiences she gained from the histories and stories of this post-industrial area influence much of her practice today. While studying at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, she developed her practice in the two materials her work is most recognisable in, ceramics and woodwork. She started using ceramics after a workshop at school and since then the material has led her to explore and discover her heritage and local identity. She is fascinated with the unique legacy of Stoke on Trent whose industrial wares firmly straddle labour and fine art as the remnants of Staffordshire pottery are as easily displayed in art galleries as they are used functionally in the home.
Kate uses her own making as an opportunity for reflection and connection with the local community’s skills and knowledge. She explores material culture and how objects do social “work” such as signifying group identity and representing social norms and behaviours. Kate’s work consists of “familiar” symbols and shapes from this area, especially in her ceramics as a way of creating a living heritage, not about conserving “things” or intangible traditions from the past, but in fact act as an active process of making and transmitting memories, that generates pride and self-recognition away from historical stereotypes.

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